The Just Church Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation
By Jim Martin (Tyndale, 2012)
The Facts: As a former pastor and current vice president of church mobilization with International Justice Mission, Jim Martin seeks to enlist American churches in the fight for social justice and human rights, particularly in the Majority World. He argues that risk-taking is essential to Christian discipleship and mission. Martin combines biblical exposition and first-hand stories of the fight against poverty, sexual abuse, and human trafficking to push timid churches toward making courageous sacrifices.
The Slant: Many pastors long to serve the underprivileged of the world but few have the necessary knowledge or tools. This book shines in its second half, where it features practical guidance for pastors to start their own justice ministries. Martin includes a skills survey for potential justice ministry volunteers and accounts of churches successfully engaged in the strategy he recommends. Because he focuses on his own social justice arena—international human rights advocacy—Martin tends to minimize the trials faced by pastors locally, but he never loses sight of the broader biblical mandate to serve the poor and oppressed, wherever they may be.—Kyle Rohane
The Journey of Ministry Insights from a Life of Practice
By Eddie Gibbs (IVP, 2012)
The Facts: Reflecting on a lifetime of ministry, Eddie Gibbs harvests spiritual insight from his experiences as a world-traveling evangelist, patriarch of a multicultural family, and witness to wartime struggles and peace. He pulls from the Bible and over 50 years of pastoral ministry to explore diverse themes such as building teams, facing obstacles, and even tragedy and death.
The Slant: Gibbs covers an astounding array of topics with warmth, humility, and honesty. He writes that "seminaries need to rediscover the power of the story and train students in the art of storytelling." He supports his assertions with rich personal narratives that are often left to speak for themselves. But he never strays far from the grand narrative of Scripture. He dusts off metaphors other authors wouldn't touch and examines them from new angles, studying their nuances but never stretching them too far. Gibbs' book is written for all Christians, but it will especially appeal to pastors, who can uniquely appreciate and appropriate his wisdom.—Kyle Rohane
Follow Me A Call to Die. A Call to Live.
By David Platt (Tyndale, 2013)
"With good intentions and sincere desires to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, we have subtly and deceptively minimized the magnitude of what it means to follow him. We've replaced challenging words from Christ with trite phrases in the church. We've taken the lifeblood out of Christianity and put Kool-Aid in its place so that it tastes better to the crowds, and the consequences are catastrophic." (p. 7)
UnLeader Reimagining Leadership … and Why We Must
By Lance Ford (Beacon Hill, 2012)
"As soon as you define yourself by your ranking in the community of saints, you've gone off the rails of following Christ. No matter the role you occupy in your church or faith community, your primary identity should be as a follower and servant of Jesus." (p. 49)
Sensing Jesus Life and Ministry as a Human Being
By Zack Eswine (Crossway, 2012)
"We still believe that God is doing something larger than we can presently see …. Ordinary love, along with a life of ordinary faithfulness to God, accomplishes more than we know." (p. 49)
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